NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - More than 100 families in Nacogdoches have more presents under their trees, thanks to Love In the Name of Christ's Christmas Blessings.
The event, which is a shopping day for parents, is a unique way of measuring the state of affairs for Nacogdoches county residents.
The parents at Christmas Blessings wait to shop for their children. The expressions say a lot. They share weariness, uncertainty, and perhaps worry. Love INC wants to make it all better.
"In Jesus' name, amen," a volunteer said.
"Hopefully, you won't spend money buying Christmas because your community wants to help you buy Christmas," said Patti Goodrum, the director of Love INC.
With generous donations, a civic center is filled with enough gifts to provide 400 children three gifts each. The parents do the shopping with assistants carrying the selections.
"Let's go do the girl first," a volunteer said.
"We really try to focus on those families that are really trying to do their part," Goodrum said.
That would be Erica Ross, a Christmas Blessings recipient. Listen to her day.
"I get my oldest one on the bus and start my day from there. I have my little one," Ross said. "He goes with me to my first job. Go there to one or two o'clock. Then I go home, try to prepare something quick for supper, and when my oldest one gets off the bus, I basically get ready for my second job. Drop them off at grandma's and go to work. Come home about 10 or 11 o'clock and then have to start the day all over again."
How does she and others do it?
"With support and love," Ross said as she exchanged kisses with her son.
Goodrum says the financial well-being of Love INC clients is much as it was last year. It's not any worse, but it could be if they let Christmas get in the way of January bills.
"You can't spend no more Christmas buying Christmas," Goodrum said. This is your Christmas."
"Yeah," a client said.
Love INC's goal is to remind clients the true meaning of Christmas, with lots of fun thrown in for good measure.
"You're a big winner of a little tree," a volunteer announcer said to laughter.
"Merry Christmas," Goodrum said.
"Thank you very much," a client replied.
The clients' once solemn mood was replaced with smiles and reassurance.
Love in the Name of Christ, Toys for Tots, and other sharing missions collaborate for Christmas Blessings. Donations are taken year-round.